Shell has vowed to close its lubricant business along with other operations in Russia to protest that country’s invasion of Ukraine. TotalEnergies said it will consider action, while other foreign lube marketers have yet to comment on the issue. Meanwhile, one Japanese lubricant supplier said it will expand operations at a joint venture in Russia, in part to fill a void created by the departure of other companies.
Totachi Industrial Co. announced last week that it will invest to expand a factory in Tyer oblast, in western Russia.
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“To lower the currency and logistic risks, Totachi Industrial priority is to localize part of its production capacities in Russia and to supply necessary equipment,” the company said in its March 15 news release.
The Russian market is of great interest, Totachi said. The company markets lubricants, coolants, car batteries and oil filters in the country, according to the company’s website.
“The company’s automotive and industrial lubricants sold in Russia are primarily imported from Japan,” an industry observer told Lube Report on Monday. “Small volumes are produced in the country.” The individual asked not to be identified, citing the sensitivity of the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict and its market impacts.
The joint venture is named Totachi Directive Global Technologies and is a partnership with MSM Group, which is based in Russia. The joint venture operates a factory in Redkino, in Tyer oblast approximately 130 kilometers northwest of Moscow, producing coolants, car glass cleaning fluids and plastic containers.
The joint venture has a significant sales presence in the Russian Far East, while it also sells products in Eastern Europe and in some former Soviet countries.
Totachi did not reply to a reporter’s inquiry to confirm what kind of production it plans to localize and whether it includes lubricants.
In its news release, the company said it hoped to business from companies leaving Russia.
“This will fill the gap in the current demand by the Russian motorists in a time when many foreign producers are leaving for political reasons,” the company said.